1. Crafted Patch Embroidery Armchairs
In my ideal home, I would have a plain white fabric sofa with bright Mexican-style hand-embroidered cushions scattered over it and a patchwork armchair like these for curling up and reading in. A girl can dream!
These limited edition pieces are available on Etsy and were made with the help of Bohemian Designs in Gujarat, India.
2. Biodegradable Unicorn Glitter
I am always on the look-out for stunning and unusual mixes of biodegradable glitter. I have been known on several occasions to adorn myself and others with a splash of glitter if I’m feeling a little blue and I never attend a party without it! This bio glitter from In Your Dreams is festival-ready and eco-friendly. It biodegrades in home compost as well as marine and waste water, and is made from renewable, non-GM ingredients. All 5 colours are currently on sale!
3. 100% Organic Make-Up Tutorial
So here is perhaps a slightly strange window into Mindfully Stylish – one of the things I do to calm down or chill out if I’m really anxious is watch make-up tutorials on YouTube. For some reason having someone suggest things to do to my face, methodically carrying them out on screen and then seeing the finished look at the end I find really reassuring. Today, I wanted to share one of my favourites with you here because this is a make-up tutorial by Aussie Heidi Mustafa on my go-to organic and vegan make-up brand, Inika Organic.
Watching her using products I actually own and use every day is really inspiring me to try out new things and create new looks but probably on the most basic level, I just find it really comforting being with someone who clearly has their life together for at least the 10 minutes and 8 seconds that this video runs for. Take a look and see if it has a similar effect!
4. Leslie Caron: Then & Now
Leslie Caron is one of the few actresses who has performed with dancing greats Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Born in 1931 in Paris, Caron originally trained as a ballet dancer with the Ballet des Champs Elysées dance company where she was spotted by Gene Kelly. He immediately cast her to star opposite him in An American in Paris, the 1951 Academy Award-winning musical comedy film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition of the same name by George Gershwin and shot in Hollywood. Looking back on this now, it really is noteworthy to say just how incredible this was – Caron was clearly very talented but it is also very fortunate that Gene Kelly was in the same place at the right time to see her perform.
For me, I was first captivated by Leslie Caron in one of her later musical films – ‘Gigi’ (1958)
I used to watch this curled on the floor at my grandparents’ house, a marmite and butter sandwich with the crusts cut off nestled in my lap, getting as close to the screen as I could and singing along with my Nana to all the best songs. Highly recommend watching it if you need a little lift!
An accomplished singer, dancer and actress, Caron went on to appear in over 45 films during her career and continues to act today. She is fluent in French, English and Italian, and received an honorary degree from the American University in Paris in 2009. Proving that talent is timeless, her performance in the long-running, popular television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit won her a Primetime Emmy Award in 2007. From June 1993 – September 2009, Caron also owned and ran a hotel in France called Auberge La Lucarne aux Chouettes (The Owl’s Nest).
I think one of the things that really stands out for me from watching her films and television appearances is her strength of personality. During her Hollywood years when stars were expected to look and dress a certain way, Caron disagreed. Shunning protocol, she wanted a short pixie cut hairstyle in comparison to her female co-stars’ long luscious locks and when the director didn’t comply, she took matters into her own hands. In this clip, she explains how she cut her hair herself in a motel room mirror with a pair of hand scissors and how the film company reacted:
May we all dance through life with the same determination, independence and elegance as Leslie Caron!
5. The Perfect Kaftan Dress for Travel
One of my favourite things about summer is the opportunity to wear long floaty loose dresses that look effortless but are really hiding the prosecco and picnic you just consumed in the park with your friends. When I went to Florence in Italy last year, going inside churches in revealing outfits was a problem as it (probably quite rightly) was considered offensive to bare your legs and shoulders. Airy kaftan dresses solve this as they cover you up whilst remaining cool. This one in particular by H&M Conscious has caught my eye as the polyester content of the dress is partly recycled. On my wishlist for summer!
Shop more H&M Conscious here.
6. The Jardin du Jour
I don’t know how I missed this on my first trip to Amsterdam but I will definitely be going back to visit here and have a coffee!
This is the Hortus Botanicus, located at the centre of Amsterdam. It was founded in 1638, making it one of the oldest botanicals gardens in the world! The restaurant pictured here is the Laranjazaal on the top floor of the massive Orangery. It has floor to ceiling windows and looks out over the garden.
If you choose to hire out any of their event spaces or visit the gardens, you are helping fund the upkeep of the garden and buildings. The Museum Cafe has loads of vegan and vegetarian options with fresh homemade dishes, many of which have organic and farm to table ingredients. You can plan your next trip to the Hortus Botanicus here.
7. Mouth-Watering Vegan Pink Treats!
I’m back on my ‘sugar once a week’ diet and it’s going well but sweet things are never far from my mind! Rather than posting a cake or flapjack, I thought it might be helpful to feature a recipe for something pink and pretty but sugar-free. Et voila! Here is a recipe for No-Bake Energy Balls with Dates and Raspberries by Plantiful Heart for that guilt-free treat!
8. Handmade Recycled Silver Jewellery
Jewellery by Juna necklaces and rings are my ideal blend between chic and earthy. Handmade in Brighton, UK, from recycled sterling silver and ethically sourced gemstones, these pieces are the best accessory to give your outfit that understated edgy vibe.
Shop more Jewellery by Juna pieces on Ethical.Market.
9. Edinburgh in Spring
For some reason, Edinburgh has been calling me recently. I think it might be because I am reading a book by William Boyd called New Confessions about a Scotsman who grew up in Edinburgh and I want to wander the same streets. There’s a big part of me that just wants to up sticks and spend a weekend there, hunkering down in a centuries-old pub for a drink, letting the locals chatter around me, or going in search of the city’s vintage shops like I did with my best friend when I was younger – we found some gems.
But what I really want to do one year is go to the Beltane Fire Festival on 30th April held on Calton Hill! This is a festival that welcomes the turn of the seasons with people dressed in pagan costumes, flame throwers, and drumming. This is so my kind of thing I can’t tell you, plus it would make up for all those years I missed the same festival at Stone Henge (I’ve always been meaning to go)!. So far, the best guide I’ve found to the city in Spring comes in the form of good ol’ Lonely Planet – have a read and go armchair travelling with me here.
10. My Monday Mantra
How am I feeling today? Well, to be honest – today I’m feeling proud. A couple of years ago, I was confronted with some pretty complicated feelings – and I didn’t know what to do with them. So I tried to shut them out. Today, two years on, I’m happy to sit on the floor with myself without anyone else around and just be with my own thoughts, travelling my inner landscape in my own head. I think it’s interesting and I think the little girl inside me is very brave, and that’s a good feeling. I let myself in in small ways – treating myself to pizza, making my favourite drink, reading a funny book. And in bigger ways – therapy multiple times a week, a full-time job, saving money. Everyone has their own way of doing it, but it’s important to find that way – the way to bring yourself back that only you know how, things that make you happy and more content that are so personal to you. What are they? Write them down and they’ll be there when you need them.
In Love&Light, MM XOXOX